Data access for repair and diagnostic purposes is an overriding issue for auto repairers, and the rise of telematics and autonomous vehicles has complicated that issue exponentially, according to Messrs. Hanvey and Redding
The ACA launched a "Your Car, Your Data, Your Choice." campaign last year and will continue to push that agenda in 2020, Mr. Hanvey said.
"The access to vehicle data and the consumer's right to decide where that data is being sent — that's our priority for this year."
To ensure action on that front, the ACA is supporting data access legislation at both the federal and state level, he said, acknowledging that action is far more likely on the state level, particularly in Massachusetts where a revision of the state's Right to Repair (R2R) law, to include access to data generated by telematics and autonomous vehicles, is in the works.
An R2R ballot initiative proved overwhelmingly successful in Massachusetts in 2016, and the state is prepared to place the revision on the ballot in 2020, Mr. Hanvey said.
"But we are pursuing legislative action to eliminate the need for a ballot initiative," he said. "What we really want is an agreement with the auto makers, but so far they are unwilling to negotiate on this.
"We have come to the table with a technical solution, which they asked us to do. We have demonstrated we have a solution that works technologically to answer the question of cybersecurity, based on standards used today."
The ACA also wants to have federal legislation on data access introduced, even though in 2020 it will be "a long shot," Mr. Hanvey said.
"Once the Massachusetts bill gets passed, we would like to go back to the federal side and have them piggyback on that."
Among other government initiatives, the ACA supports approval of the USMCA, which will guarantee market access for ACA members to North American markets. The trade group also supports a trade agreement with China.
"The Section 301 tariffs from China have caused a tremendous amount of turmoil in our industry," Mr. Hanvey said. "Are prices going up? Are there alternative sources? It's better off for the industry just to know what's going to happen.
"What we need most is an enforceable intellectual property agreement with China, in order to offer the public safe, affordable repair parts."
Another high-priority issue for the ACA in 2020 will be to help the industry ensure it will have the personnel and expertise to repair the next generation of cars.
Mr. Hanvey praised the Trump administration's support of apprenticeship programs.
"A robust apprenticeship program will be necessary to meet the technological challenges of the future," he said,
Related to this, the development of the next generation of leaders for the auto care industry through the Young Auto Care Network Group (YANG) and the Women in Auto Care community will remain a high priority for the ACA.
It also will emphasize the engagement of ACA members with their elected officials, especially in the form of visits to ACA member shops and businesses, Mr. Hanvey said.
"They can get to know our industry and see people providing jobs and revenue to our economy," he said.
The ACA also has plans to expand both the offerings and the attendance at the annual Automotive Aftermarket Products Expo (AAPEX), held every November in Las Vegas, according to Mr. Hanvey.
"Now that we have expanded exhibition space, we can increase our emphasis on shop owners, and encourage them to come to AAPEX and become part of our community," he said.
For the past six years, the ASA has sponsored technology and telematics forums in partnership with the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers (AAM), Mr. Redding said. Those forums feature key policy leaders in the telematics field, including the top cybersecurity expert at Ford Motor Co. at the forum earlier this year, he said.
"They are very open about working with us," he said. "We continue to talk to them on the path forward about data access."
The goal is to ensure that electronic vehicle data is not only accessible, but also affordable for small repair shops, he said. "Our shops operate on a thin margin."
While mechanical shops have issues with data access, the problem is even more acute for collision facilities.
"Say that someone knocks the side window off your truck," he said. "It's no longer a matter of just putting a new one back on. Mechanical shops deal with data access post-warranty, but collision shops get those issues from Day One."
While the ASA seeks an agreement with auto makers on data access, it also looks toward federal or state legislation on that issue, Mr. Redding said.
There are three legislative paths toward data access legislation, he said: a flat-out data access bill, a provision in a more general bill on autonomous vehicles or privacy legislation that addresses data access.
TIA is very involved in the effort in Massachusetts to amend the state's current Right to Repair law to include access to AV data, according to Mr. Littlefield IV. The association is working closely with the Auto Care Association (ACA) on this issue, which includes both legislation and a measure on the state's 2020 ballot, he said.
"It is crucial for dealers to have access to this," he said.